What does ice cream and fries, chocolate and bacon, and pineapples on pizza have in common? They are all polarising yet popular combinations that oddly fit together. Adding to this list is now art… and sports. Yes, you read that right.
With over 65,000 and 24,000 followers on Twitter and Instagram respectively, @ArtButMakeItSports is a digital artist who is bridging the gap between fine art and sports one meme post at a time. Matching seemingly-different disciplines, the creator seeks to provide a fresh perspective that appeals to enthusiasts of both worlds.
Let’s take a look at some of the most iconic comparisons @ArtButMakeItSports has made to date, shall we?
LJ Rader, the man behind the accounts, is a sports analyst based in New York City with a great appreciation for art. Before the pandemic, Rader used to travel a lot for work and would spend an extra day or two in a city visiting its museums. Today, the enthusiast has reportedly amassed more than 5,000 pictures of artworks on his phone and has committed most to memory.
It is of no surprise that Radar then creates memes by flawlessly matching sports photography with classical works.
To date, @ArtButMakeItSports has witnessed shares from big sports stars like Josh Howard of the Dallas Mavericks. Some of Rader’s followers also include Olympic athletes and former Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) players.
Despite the popularity of his creations, however, Rader admitted that he doesn’t stand to gain much from them. “To use a sports phrase, I make these for the love of the game,” he told the Montana Kaimin newspaper.
Upon a closer look at Rader’s mashups, the comparison between art and sports becomes obvious. Art, in its true essence, has always been about capturing figures in motion. In the same vein, sports involve figures in constant motion—waiting to be captured by audiences through a mix of media.
Although Rader has previously gathered feedback advising him to stop comparing NBA star Devin Booker to Jesus, the artist has mostly witnessed positive responses to his work. “People have reached out and said ‘I didn’t have an appreciation of sports before’,” he told Sports Illustrated. “And vice versa, sports fans that reach out to say they want to talk about art through the account.”
At the end of the day, @ArtButMakeItSports is a breath of fresh air in the sports media universe.
So what are you waiting for? @ArtButMakeItSports is undoubtedly one of the most fun accounts to follow on both Instagram and Twitter today. Who knows, maybe you’ll come out of it feeling like an art scholar with a strong sense of visual literacy yourself!